Original Research - Special Collection: Negotiating diversity in Christian Communities

Diversity: Negotiating difference in Christian communities

Marilyn Naidoo, Stephan de Beer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3525 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3525 | © 2016 Marilyn Naidoo, Stephan de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 June 2016 | Published: 01 December 2016

About the author(s)

Marilyn Naidoo, University of South Africa, Department of Philosophy, Systematic and Practical Theology, South Africa
Stephan de Beer, Centre for Contextual Ministry Pretoria, South Africa


This article seeks to present challenges of negotiating difference and diversity in Christiancommunities in South Africa today. It reflects the intersectional nature of racial, gender, ethnicand economic difference, and ways in which land, capital and other power constructs continueto underpin and deepen exclusion. It then considers the status of diversity in Christiancommunities highlighting ways in which the fault lines in society are running throughChristian communities, and how such communities almost spontaneously engage in ‘othering’more naturally than in ‘embracing’. The article proposes the re-conceptualisation of diversitywithin the bigger South African project of socio-economic transformation, and that theconversation about difference and diversity in Christian communities should be brought intodialogue with critical diversity theory, which considers diversity in relation to equity, humanrights and social justice. Finally, the article provides an overview of the contributions that formpart of this collection of articles, tracing how a number of Christian communities seek tonegotiate diversity and difference ecclesially and theologically.


Difference; Diversity; Christian communities; Critical diversity theory


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